If we truly value our eyes and vision as much as we say we do, we must take the appropriate steps to protect them, especially when participating in risky activities. Let’s take some time to talk about the best ways to protect our eyes on the job and off.

Safety Glasses

If you work with power tools of any kind, from saws to sanders, you need protective eyewear. Even when using a hammer, it’s a good idea to wear safety glasses for the odd time when a glancing blow sends a nail flying. Ideally, your safety eyewear should include side shields to prevent debris from hitting your eyes from the side.

Protective eyewear can be as simple and inexpensive as a pair of goggles or shields that fit over your own glasses. These can be purchased at your local hardware or home improvement store. However, if you work with power tools a lot, you may wish to invest in a pair of specially fitted safety glasses made with polycarbonate lenses. These can be made by your eye care professional. They can even incorporate your own prescription to give you clear, comfortable vision as well as safety.

To qualify as true safety glasses, the frame and lenses must pass a strict set of criteria set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) known as ANSI standards. The frames must be sturdier than standard “dress” eyeglass frames and the lenses must pass a “drop ball” test. In this test, a small metal ball is dropped onto the lens from a specified height. The lens must survive impact without any chipping or cracking.

If your work requires using power tools or machinery, or if you work in an area with any kind airborne particles or noxious chemicals, your employer needs to provide safety eyewear for you. They may even provide prescription safety glasses for you, so be sure to check with your employer. But no matter what type of protective eyewear you choose, the most important thing is that you wear it!